so exciting! an idea for my life cycle
class ... i can create a ritual for the "rescue of a Torah after a hurricane" ...
Katrina leaves Torahs untouched; rescuers take Jewish texts to safety (excerpted):
The sacred word of God -- lovingly hand-inscribed in classical Hebrew on scrolls of parchment -- was rescued Saturday from Jewish synagogues in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish. "Leaving them alone in an empty synagogue is an unbearable thought," Zamek said.
Because the scrolls also contain the name of God, worn Torahs must be buried, not discarded. "They are representations of God's love," Bergadine said. "It's important for the congregants (of those synagogues) to know that the Torahs are safe. It's that emotional connection."
So emotional that Bergadine broke into tears as she recounted how she carried a small children's Torah from the day school. "It was like carrying a child."
None of the Torahs, including those that had survived the Holocaust, were damaged or destroyed. Damage to the synagogues was minimal, Saperstein said.
Some of the Torahs will be stored at Beth Shalom and B'nai Israel synagogues in Baton Rouge; others will be sent to Houston, where many of the Jewish residents of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish have sought refuge.
When asked if there is a special prayer to be said for rescuing a torah, Zamek and Saperstein were stumped. Somehow, they said, the shekhekiyanu -- the prayer commemorating new beginnings and joyous occasions -- seemed inappropriate.
"I somehow missed that class in rabbinic school," Saperstein quipped.
good thing i'm taking that class now...